"The Mouth of the Mind"
"The Mouth of the Mind"
A weekly poem, read by the author.
April 26 2011 6:59 AM

"The Mouth of the Mind"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Leslie McGrath read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.


In the garden this morning,
I knelt to pinch the basil back
and found a baby rabbit
mild and untouchable as a baked potato.

He'll be my guest tonight
sitting at the dream table between you and me
wearing a double-breasted aluminum jacket.
In the salad bowl, an argument Bill and I had about money—
crisp Lincolns tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. 
Frank's cancer's a Charlotte Russe
lying like a stray bullet on the counter.

All our daughters are grown, Sarah.
Why still cook when the chairs are empty?
The mind's eye's for imagining,
but the mouth of the mind is a gullet

where our days empty out
—the everyday, the unbearable, and the good—
and the night kitchen serves it up with iced mint tea
as fast as we can wash it down.


Leslie McGrath is author of Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage.